Inducted October 1, 2005
Mary Roddis Connor, author and speaker, worked tirelessly for seventy years to shape legislation and educate the public about sustained yield, multiple-use renewable forests. Co-founder of Camp Five Museum Foundation, Laona, promoting wise use of natural resources, she endowed the Gordon R. Connor Center of Excellence in Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
More about Mary Connor:
Mary Roddis Connor was the daughter of Hamilton and Catherine Prindle Roddis. Born in Marshfield WI on May 14, 1909. She attended Wellesley College, University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The marriage of Mary Isabella Roddis to Gordon Robert Phelps Connor on July 20, 1929 was the union of two prominent lumber families. They lived in Marshfield, Minneapolis, Park Falls, Ironwood and Wakefield, Michigan and moved to Wausau Wisconsin in 1953. She had five children, fourteen grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren.
A conservation pioneer whose ideas were years ahead of the times, Mrs. Connor began her first mission in the 1930’s. She spoke, wrote letters, and encouraged others to participate in a campaign to replace young maple tree stakes on railroad logging cars with reusable metal stakes. This reform allowed young maple trees to grow to maturity, a substantial conservation of natural resources.
During the 1940’s, Mrs. Connor published Forestry Futures and Conservation Misconcepts. She described forest firefighting policies and warned of waste consequences of a “let burn” policy. Mrs. Connor also discussed the importance of long range multiple-use concepts newly initiated in the forest products industry by the Connor Lumber and Land Company and Goodman Lumber Company. In addition, Mrs. Connor, along with her husband testified in the Michigan Legislature to successfully found Michigan Technological University School of Forestry.
The 1950’s and 1960’s provided the opportunity to testify in U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the forest products industry. Mrs. Connor was at the forefront of trying to stem the tide of what was to become “Earth Day” and the environmental movement encroaching on the forest products industry.
Camp Five Museum, which Gordon R. Connor and Mary Connor co-founded to commemorate 100 years of Connor Forest Industries and in honor of the U.S. Bicentennial, was a jewel in the crown for Mrs. Connor from 1967 to 2000. Over 800,000 people worldwide have visited the Camp Five Logging Museum and Natural Resource Center to be educated in the “wise use of natural resource.” The goal of the foundation is the public education of Wisconsin logging history, multiple-use sustained yield forestry, and people and their environment. As Director, the awards she received were the National Arbor Day Foundation Education Award, two State Historical Society of Wisconsin Awards of Merit, and the Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Award for volunteer service in developing heritage tourism.
Mrs. Connor tirelessly wrote to Governors and testified, late into the 1990’s about the Nicolet National Forest Plan. She re-published A Century With Connor Timber in 1999 and wrote an addendum to express the new attitudes in the environmental movement and its impact on the forest products industry.
Mrs. Connor was a leader in forestry conservation for over seventy years. She served as Corporate Secretary of Connor Forest Industries for twenty-four years. She served on the National Women’s’ Advisory Council of the American Forestry Institute and was President and co-founder of the Wisconsin Forest History Association. Mrs. Connor was National Conservation Chairman of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, State Conservation Chairman of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Club and Conservation Chairman of the Upper Peninsula federation of Women’s’ Club. She also received the highest National Conservation Award from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.